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Screaming Death Monkey Creates VFX for Billy Talent

VFX house Screaming Death Monkey provides visual effects for Canadian punk band Billy Talent.

Los Angeles, CA –

Canadian punk band Billy Talent released the video for its new single, “Surprise Surprise,” featuring striking visual effects by designed and created by VFX studio Screaming Death Monkey. Helmed by award winning director Michael Maxxis, the video is a fantastic interpretation of the song’s social commentary and artwork for the band’s latest album, Dead Silence. SDM was tapped to execute over 130 shots, all crucial to the overall look and narrative of the video.

“After talking with Michael and seeing the design references, I was very excited to help create the world that he had envisioned,” comments Screaming Death Monkey Founder Jeremy Hunt. “Everyone was great to work with and I couldn’t be more thrilled with the result.”

SDM was brought onboard by producer John Nadelin at Rosemary Film Productions in Toronto. “SDM blew us away at every step through the post process,” says Nadelin. “Their work is heads above anyone else I've ever worked with.”

Unique and ambitious are two words that would describe the director Michael Maxxis’ vision for the video – a hybrid of live action, animation and surreal imagery with a graphic novel-like aesthetic. Screaming Death Monkey created its visual effects accordingly. Because of the current climate of shrinking music video budgets and shortened timelines, there was no time for recalls or changes. Screaming Death Monkey worked hand-in-hand with Maxxis to make sure each shot was right the first time.

"I can't think of a music video with VFX as good as this,” raves the director. “They really out did themselves. Incredible."

To accomplish a scope of work that included 3D animation, matte paintings, and live action compositing, SDM used a cadre of technology including Lightwave 3D, Autodesk’s Smoke 2013 and Eyeon’s Fusion in its production to bring the stunning action sequences to life. The scenes revolve around a dystopian, quasi-futuristic metropolis where the band sets out in mid-century F86 fighter jets to battle an evil Pig King and his army of mechanical flying sharks. SDM’s 130 shots result in 85 percent of the video’s total run time.

Founded in 2004 by Director Jeremy Hunt, Screaming Death Monkey specializes in leading-edge computer effects for film, television, commercials and music videos. Drawing on Hunt’s extensive experience, including two Emmy nominations for Outstanding Visual Effects, SDM offers a full range of services including 3D animation and effects, compositing and on-set supervision.

Hunt’s ability in both production and effects is seen in the film 405 which he co-directed and produced. 405 was one of the internet’s first viral videos and it garnered massive attention by the general public, industry and critics, including a nod from Roger Ebert. SDM’s philosophy mirrors the ideology behind 405 – to produce cool work in a boutique environment that utilizes feature level visual effects to drive story. The company recently created all of the CG effects for the short film Vessel, which has been picked by Paramount to be produced as a feature film.

Source: Screaming Death Monkey

Jennifer Wolfe's picture

Formerly Editor-in-Chief of Animation World Network, Jennifer Wolfe has worked in the Media & Entertainment industry as a writer and PR professional since 2003.